No doubt, one of the most, if not the most, powerful social networks for a musician is YouTube. YouTube like any social network has its own levels of engagement with users, and is rather dynamic in its content generation and editing ability, but probably it’s most powerful feature for musicians and most any content creator is its search engine and Partner program.
YouTube by itself is the second largest search engine in the world, just behind Google. (and Google owns YouTube, let that rattle around in your head for a sec). There has even been instances in which YouTube has surpassed Google in daily search volume making it more powerful than Yahoo!, Bing, or any other web space that serves up information, and definitely any other space that serves up multimedia. For the musician, combining the power of visibility within search with the video platform makes YouTube a no brainer and should be a part of their digital strategy. The idea is that you, as a musician, want to leverage YouTube as a way for people to find you (Discovery), and as a way for you to be the authority on “who you are” (Reputation Management). Discovery is obvious, but what about Reputation management? One of the biggest complaints artists have about YouTube is: “One of my fans posted an awful sounding/looking video of me performing and it is ahead of my awesome video in search.” You need to actively put your best foot forward. In addition to making sure you are visible, YouTube has made great strides in giving more control to copyright holders with the Content ID program.
On the monetization front, YouTube has become quite the money maker for musicians as those who are managing their music well on YouTube are able to make money off of advertising. This is a completey new type of revenue stream that is completely detached from the traditional Mechanical and Performance royalties of the music industry of yesteryear. Depending on your goals in the areas of entertainment vs. synchs, YouTube ffers opportunities for both.
When building out your YouTube Strategy, you will want to approach it like this:
Define Engagement and conversions: Determine ahead of time, as with all social media outlets, how you want fans and followers to interact with you & your videos, and how you will act in response. So many artists, not to mention businesses, fail to even do this step and wonder why the are not getting the results they had wished. It is a very important part of the social audience building process.
Exploring YouTube Search Volumes within the Keyword Tool: A tool that is normally used for advertisers can be used to gauge what type of music people are searching for on YouTube. It’s better to discover a need and fulfill it than try to create a need from scratch. Using the keyword tool to uncover potential cover songs, artists worth associating with, and trends is very valuable.
Optimizing a YouTube Video for search: Once you have your music and videos uploaded to YouTube you need to optimize it for search within YouTube and not to mention, Google. You may have the best music for all to hear, but that doesn’t matter if people can’t find it! This and discovering keywords are very similar to what is covered in the SEO for Musicians guide.
Social Aspects to increase engagement: Another aspect of videos that can help with visibility within YouTube search and trending, is engagement (people viewing, liking, commenting). It is important to create videos that encourage this. Thumbnail images, introductions, video length, and quality all play a role in this.
Optimizing your YouTube Channel Page: As with a video, your channel needs to be optimized in order to be found. It is important to continually be the authority on your music, your name, your brand. The last thing you want to happen is have other people’s less than desirable video of you, out rank you in search!
Understanding how people make money on YouTube (Monetization and Licensing):
Our Social Media for Musicians guide, which is part of our “Complete Guide to SEO and Social Media,” includes a full YouTube Strategy along with Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter. The YouTube strategy covers the above in the following sections.
- Defining Engagement and conversions
- Exploring Google Search Volumes and other data to Gauge Demmand
- Example 1: You Tube Workflow
- Example 2: Optimizing a YouTube Video for search
- Social Aspects to increase engagement
- Optimizing your YouTube Channel Page
- YouTube Monetization
- Handling With Fan Videos
- YouTube Content ID for Musicians
Lastlty, you should definitely check out our articles on YouTube Content ID and Licensing Music for YouTube. There is a lot of detail from the end of the perspective of the video content sreator that musicians will find helpful.